Driving requires focus and attention to detail. Anything that disrupts that attention can lead to an injury accident. Many people overlook the impact of medications on their driving ability. Prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs each can negatively effect your ability to drive safely. Not just tranquilizers, narcotic pain pills, and certain antidepressants are known to cause problems that can affect your focus and reaction time on the road but over the counter antihistamines and cough medicines do the same thing. Sleepiness is one of the most common issues, but blurred vision, dizziness, nausea or fainting are also side effects that can be dangerous on the road.
Particular side effects for particular people are difficult to predict. One person may find that a medication causes drowsiness, one may find that nausea is a problem, and the third may have no side effects at all. If you’re taking more than one medication, interactions between drugs can also create problems.
If you are taking a new medication, consider taking the first few doses on a day when you have nothing planned or when someone else is around to drive you to your destination. Pay attention to how you feel at different times of the day, so you can discuss any side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you do find that your medication causes side effects that interfere with your driving, ask your doctor about adjusting the dose or the timing of the medication. Many people find that a lower dosage eliminates or reduces side effects. Taking pills before bed might also be a solution, since you’ll already be safe at home before the medication’s side effects become an issue.
Penalties for Impaired Driving
In most states, the law does not distinguish between driving impairments related to alcohol use and those caused by prescription medication. If you get behind the wheel while taking a medication labeled “Do not use while operating heavy machinery” and you cause a vehicle accident, you may find yourself charged with a DUI offense. You may also face a civil suit or wrongful death claim if you are found to have been responsible for another person’s injuries or death. When in doubt, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and let someone else take the wheel.
Contacting an Attorney
The attorneys at Holzer Edwards represent those who have been injured in auto accidents caused by impaired drivers, including drivers who are under the influence of medications that affect their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Holzer Edwards is dedicated to helping families receive the compensation they deserve to move forward with their lives after an auto accident.